Henry David Thoreau and Chris McCandless embrace beliefs from the Transcendental philosophy. In the book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer and the excerpts from Walden by Henry David Thoreau readers can see connections between the beliefs of McCandless and Thoreau. They show that McCandless and Thoreau share the Transcendental beliefs of being one with nature, having self-wisdom, and simplicity.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”- Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism is an American philosophy that revolves around self-reliance and independence, commonly in nature, a Transcendentalist wants to find the true meaning in life. I believe that Chris McCandless was a Transcendentalist because he was able to leave his whole life behind and take on a minimalist lifestyle while having a strong relationship with god. However, I believe that I am not a Transcendentalist, but simply an adventurer. I had the opportunity to go to Mexico and visit the Yucatan rainforest and this lead me to be able to explore nature and feel the peaceful impact it can have on someone 's life.
Chris McCandless was a reckless idiot and there is no denying that basic truth. Chris McCandless was a man born into a middle class family. Chris had parents that loved him, a roof over his head, and food to eat. Despite all those riches he had, he threw them away. Chris was a very selfish man. Chris went off after he graduated college and “lived off the land”. Chris would travel to the coast of Mexico, the plains of Kansas, and the dunes of Nevada. Chris went on a final expedition to Alaska that cost him everything. In the following paragraphs I will fully detail how Chris was reckless, selfish, and naive. I will also explore how Chris tied his life to the beliefs of transcendentalism. One thing to not forget:
I don’t want to know what day it is or where I am. None of that matters.” Adventure was his number one goal. To Chris, nothing mattered besides his happiness. People argue that Chris did not find happiness, that he was just deluded by what he imagined the wilderness to be like. Maybe this is because he died after being in the wilderness for 112 days. I think Chris McCandless found genuine happiness throughout his journey. He made it to Alaska, his ultimate goal. His last known words were “I have had a happy life and thank the Lord. Goodbye and may God bless all!” There is no way to dispute McCandless’s happiness. Even though in the end he died, he died doing what he loved. Isn’t that everyone’s true goal in life? Chris McCandless achieved
Was Chris McCandless a true transcendentalist? Transcendentalism is a system developed by Immanuel Kant, based on the idea that, in order to understand the nature of reality, one must first examine and analyze the reasoning process that governs the nature of experience. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures. In Jon Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild, McCandless is viewed as a transcendentalist. The characteristics of transcendentalism is individual vs society and the connection between human and nature.
McCandless was inspired to take the risks he took in various journeys because of wanting to go against what his parents wanted him to do and prove that materialistic belongings that society believes we need to survive aren’t needed to live. He was seeking his true self, the true Chris McCandless and show how independent he could be.
“ rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth”(117). Chris couldn’t live with the anger he had towards his father and on top of that feeling like a hypocrite when he would talk to him. McCandless wasn’t interested in having materialistic things he wanted to separate from society and their beliefs and do what he wanted to do. All of these circumstances swayed him to searched the wild to find what it was really like. Chris was not crazy, he died tragically to simply try to find order to his imperfect life he was a serious
Chris’s appreciation for nature grew far deeper than other transcendentalist. He aspired to not only live a simple life but he wanted to see his capability of living solely off the land. Nature played a big role in his life. He believed that beauty was all around, but nobody was paying attention. He admired nature in a way nobody else did
Jon Krakauer, Chris McCandless, and Henry David Thoreau express the aspects of Transcendentalism in their three points of view. Transcendentalism is based on the belief that human beings have self-wisdom and may gain this knowledge or wisdom by how nature flows. It has three common themes: self-wisdom, nature and its meaning, and social reform. Chris McCandless’s life expressed in Krakauer’s Into the Wild is similar to the Transcendental beliefs of Thoreau’s Walden.
After reading Krakauer’s Into the Wild and Henry David Thoreau’s exerts from Walden, we can see a deep connection between Christopher McCandless and Thoreau’s transcendental beliefs. Both Chris McCandless and Thoreau show transcendentalism in their actions of self-wisdom, differences, and liberation. Chris McCandless life choices in Into the wild reflect the transcendental beliefs of Thoreau’s Walden.
Some may believe that Chris McCandless went into the wild out of nowhere, but the real reason he left everything was because he wanted to escape all the problems he was going through, especially with his parents. Chris was a smart, educated, wealthy guy, who just graduated from college and decided to give up everything he had to experience a new journey. Why would anyone ever give up the perfect life? His parents gave him anything anyone could ever dream for, but he did not accept anything. McCandless had a couple different reasons to why he left, the main one was to start a new life.
Everyone has their own set of views of the world. However, sometimes these are not individual views; instead, they are imposed upon people who are forced to accept them. Opinions like these are against the transcendental point of view. Transcendentalist finds the importance of finding one's own truth or judgments despite it possibly being in the minority. There have been many famous transcendentalist writers, such as Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who have written many essays, and books about their views and opinions. Along with them, some people who wish to live a transcendentalist life, such as Chris McCandless, who is someone that went to the wild to find his view. While Chris is a real person, he is also re-imagined as a
Chris McCandless abandoned modern world and choose the wild because he believed that he can improve himself through living in the world, and finds the true happiness of the life. McCandless abandoned his wealthy family because his complicated relationship with his father, and he was ashamed with his father’s adultery. Therefore McCandless believed that human relationship is not a thing that forms happiness, and the connection with nature brings joy as well. He believed the habitual lifestyle was what people meant to do, he believed people shouldn't have more possessions than what they need, and that is why McCandless travel with little effects. McCandless thought he can find the solution of his confusion with his father's adultery, and he can
Chris McCandless resents the world of materialism from which he was born into and in an effort to separate himself from this life he walks away from it. He wasn’t involved much with society and had problems with his family which made him to start his journey to Alaska. In most other cases people stay and deal with their problems. McCandless on the other hand ran away in the most dangerous of possible ways, by totally abandoning his sheltered existence into one that had no safety nets."Two years he walks the earth. No phone, no pool, no pets, no cigarettes. Ultimate Freedom. An extremist. An aesthetic voyager whose home is the
Christopher McCandless is a rather complex character. His unique disdain towards authority has never been truly understood. However, in Into the Wild, chapter 9-13, Jon Krakauer shines light on Chris’s childhood and allows the reader to conclude that Chris survives due to his passion for adventure. To him it replenishes some sort of spiritual energy he cannot do without. For that reason, he indefinitely renounce any form of oppression and always refuses to conform.